In the city of Cerritos, a new community shared space has opened to provide residents with an air-conditioned space to combat the heatwave, according to Cerritos Community News. This space, located at Cerritos Park East, is called a cooling center and is currently open every day until further notice from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“When the LA County decided that cooling centers would be opening, I wanted Cerritos to have one as well,” Frank Yokoyama, Mayor Pro Tem of Cerritos, said. “Originally, our plan was to open the cooling center at 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., but I believed it was more reasonable and logical to align the cooling center’s hours of operation with the building’s. I worked with City Manager Art Gallucci to extend the hours earlier to start at 10 a.m.”
This cooling center is free to utilize for all Cerritos residents.
The COVID-19 safety rules are extensive to ensure that residents are safe. Entry is not allowed for anyone with symptoms and all visitors and staff must wear face coverings at all times. Hand sanitizer, soap, water and disinfectant are available to all.
Even with these precautions, all high-contact areas are cleaned and disinfected, according to guidance provided by the Asian Journal. Social distancing regulations are enacted to ensure that all the Los Angeles Department of Public Health safety protocols are met.
“A community cooling center is a great approach to combat the summer heat; I think it would’ve been difficult to initiate this in a large scale or more populated city, but because Cerritos is a small town, I like that the city council worked to initiate this,” Tommy Kim, senior citizen and longtime resident of Cerritos, said.
Cerritos was not alone in offering cooling centers. In downtown Los Angeles, 14 opened during that same weekend, while in nearby Orange County, Sherman Oaks East Valley Adult center and other Multipurpose centers also provided cooling centers.
During the August heatwave, the LA County’s Department of Public Health reminded residents to take extra precautions. These include avoiding the sun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the rays are the strongest, drinking 2 to 4 glasses of water every hour during the day and replenishing nutrients lost through sweat with fruit juices or sports drinks. The minimum sun protectant should be 15 SPF at all times and pets should be kept indoors or in a shaded area.
Although originally, the Cerritos cooling center was scheduled to be open from August 18 to 23, because of the recent heat waves and warmer temperatures, it is still open until further notice.
Anyone in the community who does not have access to air conditioning at home should take advantage of these free resources.